Healthcare activists are genuinely concerned about the ascent of Brett Kavanaugh, a Right Wing Conservative, to the Supreme Court while the House, Senate, and Presidency are in the hands of Republicans. One would think that Americans would be in a more substantial state of revolt given middle-class-and-poor destroying policies. Who can forget the tax cut scam and now the Affordable Care Act sabotage?
There is much at risk with the trifecta by the Republicans, an ideologically ultra-Right Congress, Presidency, and now Supreme Court. It is essential that we inform Americans about what is at stake, specifically in health care. Protect Our Care came out with some specific risks after studying the issues.
At Risk: Protections For 130 Million Americans With A Pre-Existing Condition
Roughly half of the non-elderly American adults and one in 4 children, or up to 130 million people, have at least one pre-existing condition. That includes everyone with cancer, diabetes, asthma, and any form of mental health issue or drug abuse problem. Prior to the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies were able to discriminate against them, by charging them more, dropping coverage once people got sick, or denying coverage altogether. The ACA banned all of those practices, providing health security to millions.
Ending protections for people with pre-existing conditions is the official policy of the Trump Administration. The Trump Administration’s Department of Justice has taken the extraordinary step of joining the latest partisan lawsuit that seeks to strike down the ACA and has argued the Courts put Americans at the mercy of insurance companies by overturning provisions in the law that now prevent insurance companies from denying coverage completely or charging people more because of a pre-existing condition. Experts estimate that even if a cancer patient could get covered, they would have to pay as much as $140,000 a year more in premiums.
At Risk: Protections for Women and People Over 50
But that’s not all! If successful, the lawsuit joined by the Justice Department would also get rid of protections that prevent insurance companies from charging women and adults over 50 more for their health care coverage. Put another way, if these protections are taken away, we would go back to a time when older Americans could be charged an “age tax” of up to five times more for the same coverage as someone younger and women could be charged up to 50 percent more, just because they are women. Studies by AARP say premiums for someone over 50 could go up by more than $4,000 a year.
At Risk: Women’s Health Care
- Access to safe and legal abortion: By age 45, one in four women in the U.S. has had an abortion, for reasons that are deeply personal. But Brett Kavanaugh has used his power as a judge to prevent a pregnant young woman from accessing a safe and legal abortion she wanted. His track record, coupled with Trump’s campaign promises to only appoint justices who will overturn Roe vs. Wade, put women’s right to safe and legal abortion in jeopardy.
- Birth control coverage: Thanks to the ACA, 62.4 million women now have access to birth control with no out-of-pocket costs. Women saved $1.4 billion on birth control pills alone in 2013. Three courts of appeals are considering the Trump Administration’s rollback of the birth control benefit under the ACA, allowing any employer to deny coverage.
- Access to Planned Parenthood: One in five women have turned to Planned Parenthood for care at some point in their lives for a wide range of health and education services, but numerous state and federal efforts are underway to block low-income women from continuing to rely on this provider of choice for so many. Currently, three cases working their way through the courts challenge state actions to prevent Planned Parenthood patients’ access to birth control and other preventive care.
- Coverage for nursing moms: Following the ACA, which helped give new moms access to lactation consultants, breast pumps, and time and space at work to pump their milk until as late as a year after birth, the rate of women breastfeeding 12 months after giving birth rose from 27 percent to 34 percent, the largest increase in any recent three-year period. Two court cases challenging the breastfeeding services available to moms at no cost under the ACA, however, could jeopardize these gains for maternal and infant health.
At Risk: Medicaid Coverage and Eligibility
Medicaid is a lifeline for one in five people, providing critical preventive care, substance use treatment, acute care, and more to more than 70 million people. Medicaid is the primary provider for long-term care in the country, covering 6 in 10 nursing home residents, is also the primary provider to help people with disabilities stay in their homes, and pays for roughly half of the births in this country.
I reiterate, when will Americans panic and react for a damage being inflicted on them in real-time? Will they vote their interests in 2018? To a large extent that depends on you. The mainstream to a large extent continues to practice a journalism of false equivalencies. If you inform your family, peers, and friends, we can get the job done.